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The Missouri Supreme Court just released its 2009 Statewide Juvenile Court Report, which includes a study on what youths in the court system are more likely to re-offend.
The study, which looked at a sample of juvenile offenders between 2007 and 2008, concluded that a juvenile is statistically more likely to re-offend if he/she:
- Had one or more prior visits to the juvenile system, especially if accused of assault;
- Had a history of being placed outside the home;
- Was between 13 and 15 years old when first referred to the juvenile system;
- Abused substances, moderately or severely; and
- Had a below-average or failing performance in school.
Other interesting facts:
- In 2007, two percent of Missouri's 10- to 17-year-olds (that's 15, 910 out of 648,648 kids) were classified as "juvenile law offenders."
- Of those, 26 percent re-offended within a year of their first juvenile case disposition (a disposition is the final judgment in the court case), and of that 26 percent, 41 percent re-offended within only three months of their first disposition.
- Black youth were the most likely to re-offend, followed by American Indian youth offenders and white offenders.
- Male offenders were ten percent more likely to re-offend within the first year than female offenders.
The Missouri court administrators plan to use the information in the 2009 report to evaluate their current programming for youth. If 2010's report is less depressing, they could be a model for the rest of the country -- as of now, Missouri is one of only a few states publishing this information annually.